My counterpart with the Iowa High School Athletic Association, Rick Wulkow, recently spoke at a reception at the conclusion of his term as president of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Rick reminded the assembled colleagues from across the country that, by sponsoring and conducting and regulating extracurricular athletic and fine arts opportunities, they were doing for the youth of America what is not done for youth in other countries.
Mr. Wulkow asserted with conviction and passion that there is no more noble calling than theirs: to provide and to promote and to protect programs through which students learn life skills and discipline. To be builders of young people and, through them, to be people who are strengthening schools, communities, states and our nation.
In a world where people seem often to be tearing things down, he said, “These programs build things up.”
Like me, Rick is a veteran. Now in his 33rd year with the Iowa association, Rick has been a coach, administrator and official (including 17 years as an NCAA Division I basketball official). His words put another charge in my own heart, perfectly timed for the start of public school classes (finally!) next Tuesday.